A peep into the past beyond seventy-five years relating back approximately to the period intervening between the nineteenth century and the middle of twentieth century reveals a depressing picture of the people of Cis-Satluj hills. They were utterly backward; one of the various causes was total absence of contact with the outside world and stark poverty. Their isolation in inaccessible geographical landscape had led to perpetuation of ignorance superstition and centuries-old faith and beliefs. On top of these drawbacks, the Paharis were victims of centuries old oppressive and exploitative feudal system.
Raja or the chief, revered as divine figure, was the supreme and sole owner of the land. Individual ownership did not exist; cultivators were mere tenants with no right to the land except the right to cultivate thumb-sized patches conditional on punctual payment of revenue and satisfaction of numerous other state claims.
Among the Cis-Satluj hills there were numerous territorial chiefs, big and small, some as petty as lording over an area in size less than five square miles. Obviously their resources were meagre; hardly sufficient to maintain the chiefs and their families in dignity with little left for the welfare of the subjects.
To these harassed people dawn of democratic era proved to be a god-sent boon which broke centuries old shackles of slavery, deprivation and backwardness. They tasted its fruit with the emergence of Himachal Pradesh as one of the Chief Commissioner’s province in the dominion of India on April 15, 1948.
The past history, of the political battles waged and won till January 1971, the reader would find succinctly told in the book in his hand. Besides he would be reading about a few long forgotten but still important aspects of colonial administration.